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The Women Deliver Fourth Global Conference in 2016 was the largest gathering of people focusing on women's issues in more than a decade.

The event, held every three years since 2007, brought together people from around the world to discuss heath, well-being and rights of women. The conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, brought together nearly 6,000 people from 169 different countries.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (center) takes part in the conference. Photo by Jens Astrup/AFP/Getty Images.


The power of these women sharing their personal stories and ideas with one another cannot be denied.

It's emotional. It's empowering. And it's a reminder that when we listen to and support one another, it's possible to tackle these challenges on a global scale.

Here are eight of their stories shared with portrait photographer Andreas Bro.

(Edited for length and clarity.)

1. Praise Emenike, Nigeria

Praise works with Family Health International to get resources and services for people with HIV/AIDS.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

"The biggest issue today is gender-based violence. We have gender based inequalities everywhere. In the place where I work, women would need consent from their husband to access a simple HIV test. That shouldn't be an issue, to have access. They should be able to decide for themselves. And women who have unintended pregnancies, they should be able to decide this is what I want to do, this is how many children I want to have, and sometimes they don’t have that opportunity."

2. Clementina Ilukol, Uganda

Clementina is a leader of young midwives.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

“The best advice I have received is to take much time at school and acquiring higher levels of education and not be rushing into marriage. I am still single, and I feel I should work hard as far as school issues are concerned, and after that I will get married."

3. Laraib Abid, Pakistan

Laraib is a senior manager for Pakistan Afghanistan Tajikistan Regional Integration Program (PATRIP) Foundation. She works to empower women living in the border areas of these nations.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

"The main issue over here is that still majority of the women aren't considered equal to men. Their choice, mobility, wishes all are dependent on men. ... She is supposed to look after the family, cook, and clean home even if she is earning. This is a grassroots/micro level problem that directly affects the overall behavior and life of the people. Until daughters and sons both [are] treated equally, we can't come out of domestic violence, sexual assaults/harassment, even teasing, honor killing, etc. When a daughter is asked to iron clothes of her brother, polish his shoes, cook for him, and that brother doesn’t take a glass of water by himself and can take decisions of his sister's life, then how come we can achieve equality? The institutions, i.e., education, marriage, politics, health, family, and media, all gets influenced by this."

4. Gretchen, U.S.

Gretchen is a retired science teacher and school administrator.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

"The best advice I have received is be yourself and work for others because you gain power by working with others."

5. Chidinma Akpa, Nigeria

Chidinma, in her final year of medical school, studys surgical education.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

"The biggest challenge today is gender inequality. I would say most of the work women do goes unrecognized, unappreciated, unpaid for and most times they are even looked down upon ... . At times a woman is even the brains behind all the work being done. But somehow you find out that the appreciation is given to a man. It is repackaged, and they say 'with the help of' ... and the whole thing goes to a man. Especially back home in Africa. So I want us to, in terms of intellectual progress and creativity and innovation, let's give women a chance to come and stand side by side."

6. Denicia Cadena, U.S.

Denicia is a policy director at Young Women United, an organization that leads community organizing efforts for women of color in New Mexico.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

"I think most of what I've learned about change-making in this world has come from my mother, my sisters, my grandmothers, and I think in a different connected way from my ancestors. But it's really about focusing work in the community and that the people who are the most impacted are the experts of their own lives and will have the best solutions we need for our communities."

7. Edidiong Michael Umoh, Nigeria

Edidiong is a maternal child health officer.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

"The best advice I got was from my godmother. She's a judge in one of the states in my country. She used to say something to me when I was living with her at my [second] year of university: 'Whatever your hands find to do, do it as your are doing it onto God and not onto man because men will never reward you.' Always learn how to do whatever it is that you want to do with the mindset that you are not doing it for anybody, you are doing it for yourself."

8. Sadiqa Basiri Saleem, Afghanistan

Sadiqa is the executive director of the Oruj Learning Centre, which focuses on the education of women and girls.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

"Well, I will say the biggest issue for me is that women [are] seen as an issue ... . This concept, this understanding should be transformed into something brilliant that both men and women are active and a productive part of a whole society. Without women, this world cannot move on. So once this understanding is global, is universal, we will not see women as an issue."

Thankfully, this is a conference for dreamers and doers.

Following the conference, participants put together a document cataloging 100 of the best ideas and solutions to come out of the event.

And it's available to everyone.

Women have come a long way. But with generations of women still fighting for a fair shake, a good education, economic opportunities, and health services, we have no time to get complacent.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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